Moon over Manifest – Clare Vanderpool

Set in Kansas during the time of the Great Depression this is the story of twelve-year-old Abilene who has lived a life on the move with her father, hitching rides on trains from one town to the next. That is, until her father sends her to the town of Manifest to stay with an old friend for the summer while he works on the railways. Searching for clues about her father’s past Abilene uncovers more than one mystery in the town of Manifest. From a hidden box full of mementos – including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler – to the town diviner, Miss Sadie, and her stories about two boys who lived in Manifest in 1917, Abilene is able to piece together the colourful story of Manifest. Abilene is witty, bold and curious, and this is an enthralling and moving novel about secrets, family, belonging, loss and redemption.

Clare Vanderpool

Fever 1793 – Laurie Halse Anderson

During the hot mosquito-infested summer of 1793, Mattie Cook works in the family coffee shop while making plans to turn the business into one of Philadelphia’s finest. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

This novel provides an insight into the devastating effects of the yellow fever epidemic that wiped out 10 percent of Philadelphia’s population in three months.

A little writing

Virals – Kathy Reichs

Tory Brennan, niece of forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), lives on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When Tory and her three friends – all boys, who are also science geeks, rescue a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever. As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they’re a pack. They are Virals


The Saga of Larten Crepsley – Darren Shan

If you loved Cirque du Freak, then you will love reading the backstory of master vampire Larten Crepsley! As an impoverished youngster he is sent to work in a factory where life is impossibly hard. When his brother is killed as an example by the abusive foreman, he enacts his revenge and ends up having to flee. Taking shelter in a crypt, he meets a vampire and thus his road to the later series is cemented. Fast paced and action packed, this is a must read for fans of the series.


White cat – Holly Black

Seventeen-year-old Cassel seems to be the only untalented one in his family of curse workers – he has, however, perfected the art of the con, which he relies on to convince his classmates that he is normal. But a strange white cat keeps appearing in his dreams and making Cassel think about his friend Lila, who he killed years ago. When he sleepwalks onto the roof of his school, he is suspended and ends up back in his family home – where the same white cat which had been in his dreams appears. What is the connection? And can Cassel out-con the conmen?

It’s a book thing

Before I fall – Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Told in seven chapters, each representing the same day, Before I Fall tells the story of a typically popular girl, who gets six days to right some wrongs. Mean, shallow, self-centred and totally unaware, Samantha has a lot of wrongs to right in terms of how she has treated others in her life. This novel captures the trials and emotional rollercoaster of high school perfectly; so, although you might hate the protagonist, you will find this novel difficult to put down!

A work of fiction

The Red Pyramid – Rick Riordan

The first in the Kane Chronicles series, we meet siblings Sadie and Carter who were separated at their mother’s death – Sadie to be brought up with her mother’s parents in London, and Carter with his father. One night, their father – a famous Egyptologist – brings them together for an experiment in the British Museum. Things go terribly wrong, however, and he unleashes the power of Egyptian god Set – who banishes him to oblivion. The siblings set off to try to find out the truth about their family and to stop the dangerous gods who have come back into being.

So many books, so little time